Woodcock Watch 2017: meet our 3 new birds

Fonthill -Abbie -IIIBy Chris Heward, Wetlands Research Assistant

Over the past few weeks, the Woodcock Watch team have tagged three new birds ahead of the ‘upcoming’ spring migration. In fact, this spring seems to have come early and many birds are already on the move. This is much earlier than we have seen in previous years; the mild weather seems to have prompted an early departure in most of our birds.

So without further delay – let me introduce the new 2017 woodcock:


Phynodderee was tagged on the Isle of Man on 2 March - the details of our trip can be read here. Phynodderee is an adult female woodcock. Her name, voted for by the members of the Manx Game Preservation Society who funded her tag, originates from a sprite in Manx folklore.

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Fonthill Abbie III 

Fonthill Abbie III is the third bird to be tagged at the Old Fonthill Abbey Estate. Despite the feminine name, we are unsure of Abbie III’s gender, his/her biometrics did not clearly indicate a sex. Fonthill Abbie III is a juvenile bird. He/she was tagged on 4 March and has already started the spring migration, so far having made it as far as Poland.

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Nellie III

Nellie III was caught and tagged in the early hours of 21 March at a site in North Norfolk. Nellie III is a juvenile. Having only been caught in the past few days, Nellie III is yet to leave the UK but has been transmitting from Norfolk. Based on the movements of our other birds, we expect to see Nellie III leaving soon.

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These three new woodcock join a team of existing tagged-birds that continue to transmit data. Monkey IV, tagged in 2015, and Sir John, Nellie II and Fonthill Abbie II all tagged in 2016, have sent updates within the last week. All four birds have left the UK and are currently heading east across Europe. We’ll watch with interest over the coming weeks as they complete their spring migrations.


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